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Don't Frack our future
Tracy Riddle Wrote:I just saw that story today, Jan. I thought I was incapable of being shocked by anything these days, but I was wrong. What are they supposed to say? "Sorry son, but when you were 7 years old we agreed that you could never talk about fracking for the rest of your life. If you do, the company lawyers will come and take you away to the labor camp."



There is no way that the 10-year-old and 7-year-old can give informed consent to this assault on their fundamental human rights.

Is it really possible for a mother or father to sign away their child's right to freedom of expression when they become an adult?
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Jan Klimkowski Wrote:Is it really possible for a mother or father to sign away their child's right to freedom of expression when they become an adult?

It didn't used to be possible, but nowadays nothing surprises me.
Proof that politicians think they live on a different planet to the rest of us.

Fracking ban would be big mistake warns Cameron

Prime minister says ruling out fracking on environmental grounds would cost Britain in jobs and cheaper energy bills

Hundreds of protesters have disrupted work at a potential fracking site in Sussex. Photograph: Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Britain would be making a big mistake if it ruled out fracking for natural gas on environmental grounds, David Cameron has said, adding that the UK could be "missing out big time" on cheaper energy bills and new jobs because of worries about the impact on the countryside.
Campaigners have warned that the drilling could pollute drinking water and scar the landscape. Gas companies in the US have had to compensate residents where fracking practices have damaged the environment.
Hundreds of protesters are gathering to disrupt work at a potential fracking site in Sussex this summer.
But addressing staff at Crown Paint, in Darwen, Lancashire, the prime minister suggested that there was no question of there being dire environmental consequences in the UK such as "earthquakes and fire coming out of taps". The government would make sure the industry was properly regulated and not allow any "unsafe" practices.
He said: "I think we would be making a big mistake as a nation if we did not think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper prices right here in the UK.
"If you look at what's happening in America with the advent of shale gas and fracking, their energy costs in business and their gas prices are half the level of ours.
"Nothing is going to happen in this country unless its environmentally safe. There is no question of having earthquakes and fire coming out of taps and all the rest of it. There will be very clear environmental procedures and certificates you will have to get before you can frack."
He promised communities could get £1m compensation "immediately" for allowing fracking in their area, before his advisers later clarified that he actually meant £100,000.
Under coalition plans, communities will get the lump sum and then a 1% share of revenue if drilling in a particular area succeeds. This could run into millions of pounds.
Cameron said households in the US had seen their energy bills come down "very quickly" because of the process and Britain could stand to gain from the same lower gas prices.
"In the whole of the EU year 100 shale gas wells were dug," he said. "At the same time in the US there were 10,000."
He added: "The EU has about three-quarters as much shale gas as the US, so we are missing out big time at the moment and I want to make sure that Britain does not miss out."
Companies are preparing to start fracking at several sites in Britain, despite a growing protest movement. The technique involves pumping liquids underground at high pressure to split rock and extract gas or oil.
A ban on fracking was lifted by the government last year, after it decided tremors caused by drilling near Blackpool did not mean the technique posed a significant risk of earthquakes.
The decision to allow the process has paved the way for the extraction of trillions of cubic feet of shale gas exploiting 60% of the countryside, according to some reports.
However, ministers have admitted that local opposition, especially in the Tory heartlands of the south-east, could limit the amount extracted.

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Quote:"Nothing is going to happen in this country unless its environmentally safe. There is no question of having earthquakes and fire coming out of taps and all the rest of it. There will be very clear environmental procedures and certificates you will have to get before you can frack."
He promised communities could get £1m compensation "immediately" for allowing fracking in their area, before his advisers later clarified that he actually meant £100,000.

A straw man - "fire coming out of taps".

A bribe - "serious cash for allowing fracking in their area".

No mention of contamination of the water table or American gag orders on children believed to be affected by fracking.

And MSM laps it up without question.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

Frackonomics: The Science and Economics of the Gas Boom

Friday, 09 August 2013 00:00 By Rob Larson, Dollars and Sense | News Analysis

Between 1868 and 1969, Cleveland's Cuyahoga river caught fire at least ten times, including one blaze that reached the Standard Oil refinery where storage tanks detonated. Ultimately, the seemingly impossible and unnatural phenomenon of burning water came to represent the dangers of unregulated industrial development and generated popular support for the environmental laws of the 1970s, including the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Today the unsettling sight of burning water has returned, from a new industry that is exempt from both these laws. In homes near installations using the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the tap water has been known to ignite with the touch of a lighter. The industry is relatively new, so the scientific literature yields only tentative results and provisional research conclusions. But the early research suggests fracking has serious negative consequences for public health and local ecology, from flaming tap water to toxic chemicals to ground tremors. Industry spokesmen insist that the negative side-effects of fracking are insignificant. But there's one positive side-effect everyone should be able to agree upon: fracking is an ideal vehicle for explaining key economic concepts of market failure and market power, including externalities, asymmetrical information, and regulatory capture, along with brand-new ones, like science capture. Let's start with the firewater.
Liar Liar, Taps on Fire
In the fracking process, natural gas (methane) is released from shale rock strata up to a mile underground, by injecting millions of gallons of water, along with sand and a variety of synthetic chemicals. The huge pressure of the water makes new cracks in the rock, allowing the gas to dissolve and be extracted. Fracking is now responsible for 30% of U.S. electricity production and for heating half of all U.S. homes. The national and business media have breathlessly reported huge growth in gas production, and the oil-and-gas industry projects that North America will return to exporting energy by 2025. Besides the sheer growth in production, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, the fracking boom has brought other economic benefits, "improving employment in some regions and a rebound in U.S.-based manufacturing," and "greater defense against overseas turmoil that can disrupt energy supplies."
As made notorious by the documentary Gasland, water supplies are a major focus of concern about fracking, especially since the emergence of dramatic footage of a number of Pennsylvania homes, near fracking pads above the Marcellus Shale formation, producing fireballs from the kitchen tap. Duke University earth scientists conducted a more rigorous exploration of this phenomenon, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. They surveyed rural Pennsylvanian water wells for residential use, measuring concentrations of methane, the main chemical component of natural gas. Concentrations rose far above natural levels closer to drill pads, spiking within one kilometer of active gas development sites to a level that "represents a potential explosion hazard." It was also found that the specific gas chemistry in the wells matched those produced through drilling, rather than through naturally occurring compounds. As the gas boom goes "boom," the cautious scientists conclude: "Greater stewardship, knowledge, andpossiblyregulation are needed to ensure the sustainable future of shale-gas extraction."
In parts of the country where water is scarcer, the issue is more ominous. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Geological Survey have found toxic alcohols, glycols, and carcinogenic benzene in underground aquifers in Wyoming, evidence that fracking has tainted precious underground water supplies. In press accounts, local residents who requested the study "expressed gratitude to the EPA, and perhaps a bit of veiled doubt about the zeal of local and state regulators." In parched Texas, the volume of water adequate for irrigating $200,000 worth of crops can be used to frack $2.5 billion-worth of gas or oil. The Wall Street Journal reports that "companies have been on a buying spree, snapping up rights to scarce river watereasily outbidding traditional users such as farmers and cities." A Texan rancher relates: "They're just so much bigger and more powerful than we are...We're just kind of the little ant that gets squashed."
Top-Secret Ingredients
The heavy use of often-secret synthetic chemicals has also cast a shadow over the fracking debate. Bloomberg News reported in 2012 that energy companies and well operators were refusing to disclose the chemical formulas of thousands of substances used in the fracking process, enough to "keep [the] U.S. clueless on wells." Many states have instituted a self-reporting law, modeled on one first developed in Texas, allowing drillers to withhold the ingredients used in their chemical mixes. Bloomberg reports that drillers "claimed similar exemptions about 19,000 times" in the first eight months of 2012 alone. The congressional exemption of the industry from federal water requirements (discussed below) makes this non-disclosure possible, so that "neighbors of fracked wells ... can't use the disclosures to watch for frack fluids migrating into creeks, rivers and aquifers, because they don't know what to look for."
This development is a perfect example of what economists call asymmetric information, where one participant in a transaction knows relevant information that is unknown to the other party. The lack of information on one side can put the other party at an advantage, like the seller of a used car who knows more about the car's problems than the prospective buyer. For example, a team of Colorado endocrinologists set out to catalogue these synthetic compounds used in wells across the country, based on regulatory filings. The survey was limited due to the "void of environmental authority" to compel chemical disclosure, and thus the data sheets and reports are "fraught with gaps in information about the formulation of the products." Many of these reports only specify the general chemical class or use the label "proprietary," providing no additional information. Ultimately, the scientists found that over 75% of the chemicals were harmful for the sensory organs, nearly half could affect the nervous and immune systems, and 25% could cause "cancer and mutations."
Another report by Colorado scientists observed that fracking development is increasingly located "near where people live, work, and play." The study used air sampling to find strongly elevated health risks within a radius of about half a mile from fracking sites. The effects ranged from "headaches and eye irritation" up to "tremors, temporary limb paralysis, and unconsciousness at higher exposures." A larger review by Pennsylvania scientists reached similar conclusions, based on local resident reporting and finding a match of over two-thirds "between known health effects of chemicals detected and symptoms reported."
The scientists caution that their findings "do not constitute definitive proof of cause and effect," but they do "indicate the strong likelihood that the health of people living in proximity to gas facilities is being affected by exposure to pollutants from those facilities." They frequently advocate the precautionary principlethat careful study showing that a product or process is not harmful should precede its useas when they recommend "health impact assessments before permitting begins," and note that "scientific knowledge about the health and environmental impacts of shale gas development ... are proceeding at a far slower pace than the development itself." These conclusions contradict the industry's claim that fracking is both safe for public health and not in need of any further study. Especially considering the earthquakes.
Tectonic Economics
Perhaps more alarming than the burning water and secret chemicals is the association of fracking with earthquakes. An early report of this development came from the Oklahoma Geological Survey, which surveyed the timing of tremors and their proximity to fracking sites and found a "strong correlation in time and space" and thus "a possibility these earthquakes were induced by hydraulic fracturing." Earthquake epicenters were mostly within two miles of wells, and any earthquake disruption or damage caused by fracking-related activities represents an externality, a side effect of an economic transaction that affects parties outside the transaction.
These findings are backed up by a review in the prestigious research journal Science, in which cautious scientists note that fracking itselfis not responsible for "the earthquakes that have been shaking previously calm regions." Yet they find that the induced earthquakes do arise from "all manner of other energy-related fluid injectionincluding deep disposal of fracking's wastewater, extraction of methane from coal beds, and creation of geothermal energy reservoirs." A surveyed area in Arkansas typically had about two quakes a year, before the beginning of fracking-water disposal. The year water disposal began, the number rose to ten. The next year, to 54. After water injection was halted, the quakes tapered off. The Science authors observe the "strongly suggestive" correlation between water disposal and seismic activity: "The quakes began only after injection began, surged when the rate of injection surged, were limited to the vicinity of the wells, and trailed off after injection was stopped." The scientists' main conclusion is the adoption of the precautionary principle: "look before you leap ... Stopping injection has stopped significant earthquakes within days to a year. ... The new regulations in Ohio and Arkansas at least move in the direction of such a learn-as-you-go approach."
You might wonder why the EPA has not limited or regulated fracking operations, in light of the combustible water, cancer-causing chemicals, and earthquake clusters. The EPA might well have adopted significant national policies on fracking by now, had the practice not been made exempt from the main national environmental laws in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, an offspring of Dick Cheney's secretive energy committee. The exemptions from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Superfund law drastically limit the agency's authority to act on fracking.
The drive to limit even EPA research into fracking is decades old. An extensive New York Times report, based on interviews with scientists and reviews of confidential files, found that "more than a quarter-century of efforts by some lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to police the industry better have been thwarted, as EPA studies have been repeatedly narrowed in scope and important findings have been removed." When Congress first directed the EPA to investigate fracking in the 1980s, the Times reported, EPA scientists found that some fracking waste was "hazardous and should be tightly controlled." But the final report sent to Congress eliminated these conclusions. An agency scientist relates, "It was like science didn't matter. ... The industry was going to get what it wanted, and we were not supposed to stand in the way."
Similarly, when an EPA public-advisory letter to the state of New York called for a moratorium on drilling, the advice was stripped from the released version. A staff scientist said the redaction was due to "politics," but could as well have said "business power." More importantly, the first major EPA review of fracking found "little or no threat to drinking water." This was an eyebrow-raising claim, given that five of seven members of the peer review panel had current or former energy industry affiliations, a detail noted by agency whistle-blower Weston Wilson. Other studies have been narrowed in scope or colored by similar conflicts of interest. More recently, the agency announced that its study finding contamination of Wyoming groundwater will not be subjected to outside peer review, and that further work instead will be funded directly by industry. As the EPA is presently drafting a brand-new report on the subject, these past embarrassments should be kept in mind.
This brings up the problem of regulatory capture, where an industry to be monitored gains major influence over regulators' policies. As mentioned above, fracking is very loosely regulated by the states, which is always a favorite outcome for corporate America since the regulatory resources of state governments are far smaller and the regulators are even more easily dominated than those of the federal government. The industry-sponsored FracFocus website is the state-sanctioned chemical-information clearing house, and a masterpiece of smooth PR design, suggesting clear water and full transparency. But Bloomberg News reports that "more than 40 percent of wells fracked in eight major drilling states last year had been omitted from the voluntary site."
Other state reactions have varied. In 2010, the New York State legislature voted to ban fracking, but then-Governor Paterson vetoed the bill and instead issued a temporary moratorium on the practice, though fracking remains illegal in the New York City watershed. Finally, while the EPA's main study is still pending, the agency has taken some steps, as in 2012 when it required well operators to reduce methane gas emissions from wells and storage pits to limit air pollution. But even here the regulation wears kid gloves: The new moves do not cut into industry profits. In fact, capturing the "fugitive" methane, the agency estimates, will save the industry $11 to $19 million annually. Also, the regulation won't take effect until 2015.
Neoclassical Gas
Mainstream, or "neoclassical," economic theory considers itself to have solutions to these problemssolutions centered as always on "free markets." The idea is that if firms create chronic health problems or combustible tap water, market forces should drive up their costs, as landowners learn of these firms' practices and demand higher payment for drilling. But as seen above, even households that have already leased their land for gas development remain unaware of the identities and effects of the obscure synthetic chemicals to which they are exposed. This informational asymmetrythe firms know things the landowners don'tsignificantly attenuates the ability of landowners to make informed choices.
On the other hand, households that are located near a drill pad but uninvolved in licensing the drilling will experience the ill effects as externalities. Neoclassicals suggest these can be fixed through a better property-rights system, where surrounding individuals can sue drillers for injuring their health. But this solution runs up against another problem: proving cause-and-effect from a drilling pad to a particular individual's health problems is extremely difficult. The tobacco industry notoriously made this point in court for many years, arguing that it was impossible to prove if a man's lung cancer was caused by a four-pack-a-day cigarette habit, as opposed to, say, local auto exhaust. If cause-and-effect is hard to prove in court for cigarettes, doing so for air-delivered volatile organic compounds will be almost impossible.
This problem is aggravated by the use of corporate resources to influence research. The showcase example is a study produced by the University of Texas, "Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development." The study gave fracking a guardedly positive bill of health, finding no evidence of negative health impacts. The commercial media gave the study a good deal of favorable attention, until the revelation that the lead researcher, Dr. Charles G. Groat, formerly of USGS, sits on the board of the Plains Exploration & Production Company, a Houston-based energy firm heavily invested in gas development. His compensation from the board was several times his academic salary, and he also held 40,000 shares of its stock. An in-house review by the university was outspoken, saying "the term fact-based' would not apply" to the paper, which was "inappropriately selective ... such that they seemed to suggest that public concerns were without scientific basis and largely resulted from media bias." Groat retired from the university the day the review was released, but this practice has become increasingly common from industries under fire for environmental or public-health impacts. Bloomberg News flatly stated that "producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics." This raises the ugly possibility of science capture.
No Frackin' Way
Not that Americans are taking it lying down. A diverse popular coalition successfully fought to block a Gulf Coast gas terminal that stood to inflict major damage on local wildlife. The Oil & Gas Journal reports on the "firestorm" of activism: "In an unlikely but massive undertaking, environmental activists, sports fishermen, local politicians, media groups, and other citizens formed a coalition known as the Gumbo Alliance' that united opposition to the technology." The Louisiana governor vetoed the project "under considerable public pressure." Elsewhere, local residents have taken action to keep fracking and its negative externalities out of their communities. New York State "fractivists" have won an impressive 55 municipal bans and 105 local moratoriums against fracking, to date. The state's Court of AppealsNew York's highest courtrecently upheld the bans against an industry lawsuit. These activist successes are an early challenge to what the Wall Street Journal called the new "shale barons."
American job markets remain highly depressed and state budgets are strained. What we need, instead of dogged extraction of every particle of fossil fuels from the ground, is a public employment program geared toward the construction of a new sustainable energy system. This would be a far superior alternative to frackingon grounds of health, ecology, and employment. It could also serve as a springboard for a broader questioning of the suitability of capitalism for the challenges of the 21st century. That kind of radical approach would see the glass of water as half full, not half on fire.

SOURCES: Russel Gold, "Gas Boom Projected to Grow for Decades," Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2013; Tom Fowler, "US Oil Sector Notches Historic Annual Gusher," Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2013; Stephen Osborn, Avner Vengosh, Nathaniel Warner, and Robert Jackson, "Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing," Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, Vol. 108, No. 20, May 17, 2011; Kirk Johnson, "EPA Links Tainted Water in Wyoming to Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas," New York Times, December 8, 2011; Tennille Tracy, "New EPA Findings Test Fracking Site," Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2012; Felicity Barringer, "Spread of Hydrofracking Could Strain Water Resources in West, Study Finds," New York Times, May 2, 2013; Russel Gold and Ana Campoy, "Oil's Growing Thirst for Water," Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2011; Ben Elgin, Benjamin Haas and Phil Kuntz, "Fracking Secrets by Thousands Keep US Clueless on Wells," Bloomberg News, November 30, 2012; Theo Colborn, Carol Kwiatkowski, Kim Schultz and Mary Bachran, "Natural Gas Operations form a Public Health Perspective," Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, Vol. 17, No. 5, September 20, 2011; Lisa McKenzie, Roxana Witter, Lee Newman, John Adgate, "Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources,"Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 424, May 1 2012; Nadia Steinzor, Wilma Subra, and Lisa Sumi, "Investigating Links between Shale Gas Development and Health Impacts Through a Community Survey Project in Pennsylvania," New Solutions, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2013; Austin Holland, Oklahoma Geological Survey, "Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eolga Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma, August 2011; Richard Kerr, "Learning How NOT to Make Your Own Earthquakes," Science, Vol. 335, No. 6075, March 23 2012; Zoe Corbyn, "Method predicts size of fracking earthquakes," Nature News, December 9, 2011; Ian Urbina, "Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas," New York Times, March 3, 2011; Devlin Barrett and Ryan Dezember, "Regulators Back Fracking' in New York," Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2011; John Broder, "US Caps Emissions in Drilling for Fuel," New York Times, February 4, 2012; Norman Augustine, Rita Colwell, and James Duderstadt, "A Review of the Processes of Preparation and Distribution of the report Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development,'" University of Texas at Austin, November 30, 2012; Jim Efsthathiou, "Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case," Bloomberg News, July 23, 2012; Daron Threet, "US offshore LNG terminals face technical, legal maze," Oil & Gas Journal, December 24, 2007; Ellen Cantarow, "New York's Zoning Ban Movement Fracks Big Gas," Truthout, May 9, 2013 (; Alyssa Abkowitz, "The New Texas Land Rush," Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2013; Daron Threet, "US offshore LNG terminals face technical, legal maze," Oil & Gas Journal, December 24, 2007.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Church of England in 'fracking land-grab'

The Church of England has begun legal action to claim ancient mineral rights beneath thousands of homes and farms, prompting fears the church could seek to cash in on fracking.

A Cuadrilla drilling rig in Lancashire. Photo: Cuadrilla

By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor

9:00PM BST 15 Aug 2013

[Image: comments.gif]Comments

Residents across England have started receiving letters from the Land Registry, informing them that the Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property.

Lawyers believe that the Church's claim could allow it to profit from fracking, the controversial method of extracting oil and cash by fracturing underground rocks with water and chemicals.

Responding to residents' worries, the Church insisted that it has "no particular plans to mine under any property" but failed to rule out allowing fracking on its property.

Some church leaders have opposed fracking. The Telegraph revealed this week that the Diocese of Blackburn has warned parishioners in Lancashire that fracking could threaten "God's glorious creation".

However, the Church Commissioners manage the church's extensive investments and their financial decisions sometimes clash with the clergy's ethical positions.

Last month, it emerged that the commissioners have invested money in the same payday lenders that were strongly criticised by the Archbishop of Canturbury.
The commissioners are seeking to assert the Church's ownership of mineral rights beneath up to 500,000 acres of land, an area roughly the size of Sussex.
The claim is being made under laws dating back to the Norman conquests, which give "lords of the manor" rights to exploit the earth under property on their former estates.
The Church, which has owned some its land for centuries, holds such rights in many parts of England, including some where geologists say there is scope to extract energy by fracking.
Under a new law, landowners have until October to assert their rights over mineral rights. The commissioners have told the Land Registry that they wish to do so.
As a result, the registry is now sending official legal letters to residents informing them of the Church's "unilateral" claim to benefit from any mines and minerals under their land.
Several Telegraph readers who have received such letters have expressed concerns that the Church's claim could be linked to future fracking projects.
One recipient was Dr Richard Lawson, a retired GP who lives in the Mendip Hills in Somerset.
He suggested that the Church action is linked to fracking noting that there are proposals for fracking projects elsewhere in Somerset.
Dr Lawson said: "It's an ethical question for the Church will they use their mineral rights to block fracking or to make money out of it?"
Another recipient, from Nottinghamshire, accused the Church of a "blunderbuss approach" to mineral rights.
"It's quite perplexing that you can own your own home but then someone comes along and tells you they own the ground beneath your feet," said the resident, who did not want to be named.
His home is less than five miles from an area with proven oil reserves, he said, adding: "It's a bit of a coincidence that this happens when people are talking about fracking."
In a statement, the commissioners said the claims were caused by a change in the law in 2002 which sets a deadline for registering historic mineral rights.
"We would make clear that this is just a registration and protection exercise to protect existing rights and interests made vulnerable by the change in the law. There are no particular plans to mine under any property. The focus is registration and protection," the statement said.
A Church spokeswoman said that the registration had "is absolutely no link with fracking", but admitted that the legal position on unconventional energy extraction "remains unclear." She added: "We have certainly had no approaches for our land."
Caroline Almond, a lawyer at Squire Saunders, said that historic rights like those asserted by the Church could allow claimants to profit from fracking.
"In relation to fracking, as long as the landowners with "Lords of the Manor" rights gain planning permission they can profit from shale gas reserves despite local objection to drilling," she wrote on the firm's blog.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Yet more dangerous things that fracking brings that it's supporters don't talk about.


Wrecking the Earth: Fracking has grave radiation risks few talk about

[Image: chrisbusby2.a.jpg] Christopher Busby is an expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation and Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk.

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Published time: August 28, 2013 14:14

Ecology, Natural resources, Science

Environmentalists point to various dangerous consequences of using fracking technology, but none can be compared to the issue of radiation exposure and radioactive contamination of the development areas it poses.
UK government plans to use fracking technology in populated areas of the country recently drew hundreds of people to the streets in protests. Protesters pointed to the dangerous example of the US, the worldwide leader in fracking, where hydraulic fracturing (which consumes vast amounts of water) led to areas of Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming facing a dire water crisis.
Fracking involves toxic chemicals being lowered into kilometer-deep holes drilled in the ground to isolate gas and oil from shale. The toxic chemicals can then float into lakes and rivers or contaminate the ground. Also, fracking produces a disproportionate amount of waste, including radioactive water, which then has to be dumped somewhere.

The key to fracking

Uranium is the key element to fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, to use its proper name. In the real-world version of Phineas Fogg's "Eighty Days Around the World," burning the ship's masts and furniture to make steam, governments are now encouraging the oil and gas merchants to blast their way deep into the Earth to squeeze the last ounce of oil and gas from that poor creature. But there will be a terrible revenge. Locked up in the strata into which they pump the pressurized process water, to fracture and thus create the huge surface area sponge which will yield up its cargo of gas and oil, is a monstrous amount of natural uranium and its deadly daughter Radium-226. And vast amounts of the radioactive alpha emitting gas Radon-222, and its own daughters Bismuth 214, Lead-210 and the alpha emitter Polonium-210. Remember Polonium-210? That was the material used when a few millionths of a gram poisoned ex-Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Deep down in the earth, there is a lot of radioactivity, which is safe enough, so long as it is not brought up to the surface. The technical term is NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material). When it is brought to the surface it becomes Technologically Enhanced, or TENORM, and it is a serious health problem near oil wells and gas production sites. It is in the production water, in the oil, in the gas, around the production sites, the groundwater, in the pipes and tanks and in your kitchen.

The easy oil and gas deposits are those where there are subterranean reservoirs, and the oil and gas can obtained by drilling into the reservoir and then pumping down water to displace the oil back up the drill pipe. These are now running out, or are owned by people who control the flow and the price. But there are many other deposits, where the resource is spread throughout the rock, like water in a sponge. Fracking comprises any method employed to break up the solid rock, shale or sandstone to provide channels that allow the oil or gas in the strata to more easily be pumped to the surface. Fracking is not a new idea, but there are some new technologies being employed that make it easy to obtain gas economically from such hitherto unassailable rock sources. For reasons which I will outline, this development has some worrying aspects.

The gas or oil will not normally be available because it is trapped in and interspersed through solid rock. To get it out you have to drill horizontally along the solid organic clay material, the shale, (or whatever oil-bearing rock type is there) and then break that unto small pieces in various ways so that the gas or oil can be pushed by the water you pump in back to the well pipe and up to the surface. The methods of breaking up the rock and holding the subsequent channels apart vary; put together they are "fracking".
The shale strata are between 1,000 and 8,000 feet deep. Owing the weight of rock above, the pressure on the rocks in the gas bearing strata at these depths is enormous. The drill has to pass a tube (the "gun") along the stratum for as long a length as possible and then this has to become perforated along its length with holes that allow the gas or oil to get into the tube and up to the surface.
Historically difficult. But technology has come to the rescue in the manifestation of specially designed explosives called "shaped charges." These are cone-shaped dense metal explosive devices that send the explosive energy in an enormously powerful directed jet of metal atoms that act as a drill and melt the rock or shale along the length of the jet. This creates a radially distributed set of channels along and around the length of the drill tube, in the shape of a bottle-cleaning brush. Once this is done, water containing a whole range of acids and chemical additives is injected under immense pressure and this is followed up by small balls and sand or grit, termed "proppant" like the pit props in a mine, to hold the channels formed open. The extreme pressure pushes the weight of the upper layers of rock upwards and releases the tension in the strata where the gas is trapped. It has been noticed that the effect of all this on geophysical stability of the local deep earth results in small earth tremors and shocks, noticed by people living nearby. But the real cause of these tremors may be more sinister.

Nuclear implications

The metal which was formerly employed for the shaped charge head or "gun" was copper. This creates a pressure of 300,000 atmospheres which pushes the rock aside by plastic deformation. But in 1984 a US patent (US 4441428) was filed by one Thomas Wilson, entitled "Conical Shaped Charge Liner of Depleted Uranium." The patent begins: "this invention relates to a novel blasting device especially adapted for drilling oil and gas wells." Wilson records that DU is 5-times as efficient as copper in terms of the length of the jetted hole, creating a pressure of 600,000 atmospheres. Because of the uranium's greater chemical reactivity it actually creates new chemical compounds with the material in the rock (and the oil and gas).

The DU cuts through the rock like butter, just as the military versions of this technology, which we believe has been fitted to missiles can cut through concrete reinforced bunkers. The multiple-shaped charge explosions will certainly shake the ground. The earth tremors and earthquakes are then not so hard to explain. Where do the process water acids, chemical compounds end up? At the surface? In the local aquifer? In the local rivers? Yes. But where to the DU nanoparticles from the shaped charge end up? Perhaps the mix of process water and chemicals spilled at the surface. Perhaps in the oil or in the gas. In your kitchen? No one looks, but someone should, since we know from the Iraq wars what these things can do to human health.
In case you might think this is all scaremongering, academic and unrelated to fracking, another patent was filed more recently in 2011 (US Patent 20110000669) by Halliburton (think: oil, gas, armaments, missiles, Dick Cheney) entitled "Perforating gun assembly and method for controlling wellbore pressure during perforating". The patent specifically refers to Depleted Uranium.
So not only is there a lot of natural radioactive material surfacing in the gas or oil stream, and the production water, there is the possibility also a lot of unnatural radioactivity coming up from the DU shaped charges. And besides the fact that Depleted Uranium is the most efficient of these shaped charge metals, let's not forget the attraction to the US nuclear industry of a way of getting rid of its vast stocks of Depleted Uranium, or even natural Uranium, or even nuclear waste. I mean, who is going to look at the radioactivity in the process water? It will be radioactive from the Radium and Radon daughters anyway. You would need to carry out some sophisticated analysis to see if it contained any nasty man-made radionuclides, especially DU nanoparticles. Who will do that?

Fracking contamination

The issue of natural radioactivity and fracking gas was raised by my friend, Marvin Resnikoff, who was an expert on the NORM cases. He has examined the fracking situation in relation to the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale gas, New York State. He pointed out that there were two critical issues. There is the concentration of Radium-226 in the rock. Then there is the length of time it takes for the gas to get to the kitchen.
Radon has a half-life of about four days, and so if the gas takes a short time to get from the well production site to the consumer, then levels in the kitchen can be significant. He calculated that there would be between 1,000 and 30,000 extra lung cancers in New York State from such an exposure. And that no one in environmental protection agencies had paid any attention to this issue.

This is certainly of concern, but there are other issues. The process water (and chemicals) certainly contaminates the areas around the gas production machinery. In a recent court case I was involved with in Louisiana there was a gas distribution plant that was scarily radioactive, and the land around it was also radioactive. I also studied oil well production areas in a Kentucky court case. The process water dissolves Radium-226 and this precipitates as scale on the pipes and tanks and is left on the ground near the wellheads and distribution facilities. The transfer pipes are radioactive. One of the worst radionuclides left behind is the Radon daughter Lead-210 which has a longish half-life (22 years) and builds up in these situations as a fine dust. It gets into the gas stream as nanoparticles and I believe it remains in the gas stream. It decays to Bismuth-210 which immediately decays to the alpha emitter Polonium-210 with a half-life of 138 days.
Fracking will increase the amount of Radon in the extracted gas. Why? Because of the high surface area created by smashing up the rock. In the simple gas or oil well there is a big cavern. The radon seeps out of the wall which has a surface area equal to that of the cavern wall. But in the case of the fracked strata, the surface area out of which the Radon can seep is enormously enhanced. So a faster Radon transfer can occur.

Burning our ship

So I conclude that fracking carries with it some serious health issues relating to radiation exposure and local contamination, issues which, as Marvin Resnikoff points out in his articles, have not been addressed properly (or at all) by the environmental impact statements published by the operators, or by the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA. The well heads and distribution areas will become radioactively contaminated. Isolated wells along the south coast of England, the Texas-ification of Sussex being encouraged by Prime Minister David Cameron, will not be like windmills. The contamination from the process water will get into the groundwater and drinking water. And let's not forget the Depleted Uranium.

I don't want to be all negative: oil and gas are valuable resources, and techniques for increasing availability have to be applauded, even if examined with more caution than they have been. But let's finish by stepping back from all of this and asking what it's for. The short answer, of course, is that it's for money and cheaper energy, security, independence in energy terms from remote suppliers. But we know what it's really for. It is the necessary fuel for the continuing economic system, the market-forces-driven, short-attention-span, continued global extravaganza of manufacturing, working, buying and selling that life has now become. Of course this can't last since (fracking or not) the fossil fuel (and other fuels) will eventually run out, and/or the limited biosphere will die off from the toxic waste products of the activity, something that is currently happening at a frightening rate. But fracking will buy them more time.
As Phineas Fogg is completing his "Around the World in 80 Days" trip, he is forced to burn the cabin furniture, the masts and other critical pieces of the ship carrying him back on his final leg, to win his wager. But in the dismantling and burning of our planet, there is no wager, just greedy and powerful individuals. We are burning our ship when it's all we have.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
The Fockers, sorry The Frackers, need to tell us the Secret Recipe they use to Frack Mother Earth.

Or, as Tupac Amaru said:

Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

Frackademia: The People & Money Behind the EDF Methane Emissions Study

[Image: UT-Austin.jpg?itok=GAaVLMc1]

The long-awaited Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)-sponsored hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") fugitive methane emissions study is finally out. Unfortunately, it's another case of "frackademia" or industry-funded 'science' dressed up to look like objective academic analysis.
If reliable, the study - published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and titled, "Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States" - would have severely reduced concerns about methane emissions from fracked gas.
The report concludes .42% of fracked gas - based on samples taken from 190 production sites - is emitted into the air at the well pad. This is a full 2%-4% lower than well pad emissions estimated by Cornell University professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea in their ground-breaking April 2011 study now simply known as the "Cornell Study."
A peek behind the curtain show the study's results - described as "unprecedented" by EDF - may have something to do with the broad spectrum of industry-friendly backers of the report which include several major oil and gas companies, individuals and foundations fully committed to promoting the production and use of fracked gas in the U.S.
One of the report's co-authors currently works as a consultant for the oil and gas industry, while another formerly worked as a petroleum engineer before entering academia.
The study will likely be paraded as "definitive" by Big Oil, its front groups and the media in the days and weeks to come.
A DeSmogBlog exclusive investigation reveals the study actually stands to make its pro-gas funders a fortune in what amounts to industry-favorable data meant to justify shale gas in the public mind as a "bridge fuel" - EDF's stance on gas - now and into the future.

Cornell's Howarth Reacts

Howarth has issued a press statement unpacking the long-anticipated study, beginning by explaining a key caveat (emphases mine).
"First, this study is based only on evaluation of sites and times chosen by industry," Howarth stated.
"The Environmental Defense Fund over the past year has repeatedly stated that only by working with industry could they and the Allen et al. team have access necessary to make their measurements. So this study must be viewed as a best-case scenario."
Howarth next explains industry cooperation - while a nice sales pitch - isn't necessary to "get the goods."
"[M]any other scientists have proven over the past 2 years that you can measure methane emissions from gas development without industry cooperation, for instance by using aircraft to fly over operations," he said.
"Many studies have now been published, and many more presented at national scientific meetings, on methane emissions using techniques which capture the emissions at regional scales and do not require industry permission to sample...All of these studies are reporting upstream [well pad] emission estimates...10- to 20-fold higher than those reported in this new paper."
Why the vastly better results on methane emissions?
"How can we explain this huge discrepancy?" Howarth asked. "[Industry does] it better when they know they are being carefully watched. When measurements are made at sites the industry chooses and at times the industry allows, emissions are lower than the norm."
Lastly, Howarth points out that unlike his April 2011 study, this study didn't do a lifecycle analysis, limiting the data set to fracked well sites.
"Finally, methane emission from upstream at the well sites is only part of the problem," he commented. "Methane is also emitted as gas moves to consumers, and again new studies are indicating these emissions may be even larger than the 1.4 to 3.6% of lifetime well production."
EDF announced this is just the first of a series of 16 articles to come on the climate impacts of shale gas production at various stages of its lifecycle.

People and Money Behind the Study

Without getting to into the minutiae of the study's science, it's key to dig into what at face-value seems like minutiae - when examined in piecemeal fashion and not as an aggregate - about the people and money behind the study.
Study sponsors listed in the 'Acknowledgments' section of the report include Anadarko Petroleum, BG Group, Chevron, Encana, Talisman and ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy in addition to EDF. These are the obvious "frackademia" culprits raising red flags regarding the study's findings.
But that only scratches the surface.
Others listed as key funders include - but are not limited to - Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, the Robertson Foundation and Tom Steyer. All have key connections to fracking and pro-industry stances that tell an important tale about the study and its findings.

Druckenmillers: EDF, Bloomberg, "Clean Heat"

Stanley Druckenmiller - a well-known New York City-based hedge fund manager - serves as a member of EDF's Board of Trustees. His wife Fiona serves on the Board of Directors of the Bloomberg Family Foundation.
In August 2012, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave EDF a 3-year $6 million grant "to minimize the environmental impacts of natural gas operations through hydraulic fracturing."
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Michael Bloomberg; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
"The funding will support EDF's strategy of securing strong rules and developing industry best practices in the 14 states with 85 percent of the country's unconventional gas reserves," EDF spelled out in a press release.
Before the studies' findings even came out - or for that matter, before the studies even began - Mayor Bloomberg explained the rationale behind the studies in a less than objective manner. This came on the day after he endorsed fracking in New York's portion of the Marcellus Shale basin.
"Here's the truth on natural gas. The environmentalists who oppose all fracking are wrong, and the drillers who claim that regulation will kill the industry are wrong," he told EDF. "What we need to do is make sure that the gas is extracted carefully and in the right places, and that has to be done through strong, responsible regulation."
Under Bloomberg's watch, New York City is in the process of moving from oil to gas for heating, popularly referred to as the "NYC Clean Heat" initiative, a recipient of a $100 million grant from Bloomberg. The gas will be obtained predominantly via fracking in the Marcellus Shale basin.
EDF serves as a lead sponsor of the "Clean Heat" initiative and its website was registered in April 2011 by the EDF itself.
The genesis of "NYC Clean Heat" centered around the release of a December 2009 report published by EDF and the Urban Green Council titled, "The bottom of the barrel: How the Dirtiest Heating Oil Pollutes Our Air and Harms Our Health." One of Urban Green Council's key sponsors is Bloomberg L.P.
Though co-published by EDF and Urban Green Council, the report was actually written by M.J. Bradley & Associates, according to the Acknowledgements.
M.J. Bradley & Associates' clients include the American Clean Skies Foundation (a Chesapeake Energy front group), Dominion (owner of the recently-approved Lusby, Maryland-based liquefied natural gas export facility), EDF and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Steyer, Paulson, Bloomberg: Backing Fracking

Another key study funder of the study was Tom Steyer. Referred to by Bill McKibben in the Rolling Stone as "Daddy Greenbucks," he's best known these days for his activism fending off the northern half of Transcanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
[Image: SteyerHeadshot.jpeg]
Tom Steyer; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Before leaving to work full time as an alternative energy investor, Democratic Party super-PAC donor and climate change activist, Steyer ran a multi-billion hedge fund called Farallon Capital Management.
Steyer began his career as a colleague of both Robert Rubin and Henry "Hank" Paulson, former U.S. Secretaries the Treasury under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively.
"In 1983, after finishing business school, Tom returned to New York and worked in the risk-arbitrage division of Goldman Sachs under Robert Rubin, Clinton's future Treasury Secretary," explained a recent piece appearing in The New Yorker of the relationship between Steyer and former Goldman CEO Rubin.
At the time, Paulson was leading Goldman Sachs' Midwest Region Investment Banking group.
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Henry "Hank" Paulson; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Steyer, Bloomberg, Paulson, Rubin and former U.S. Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan George Shultz have reunited to form a climate change initiative whose details will be revealed in October, according to The New Yorker.
In a January 2012 op-ed appearing in The Wall Street Journal co-written by Steyer and Center for American Progress chairman John Podesta - now serving as Steyer's aide - they both offer a full-throttled endorsement of fracking while avoiding use of the term.
"Under President Obama's leadership, we appear to be at the beginning of a domestic gas and oil boom," they wrote. "This can free us from our addiction to foreign-sourced barrels, particularly if we utilize our dramatically larger and cheaper natural gas reserves."
Perhaps alluding to the forthcoming EDF study, Steyer and Podesta say that if the questions are answered positively, shale gas can serve as a game-changer.
"There are critical environmental questions associated with developing these resources, particularly concerning methane leakage and water contamination," they wrote.
"Yet as long as we ensure high regulatory standards and stay away from the riskiest and most polluting of these activities, we can safely assemble a collection of lower-carbon, affordable and abundant domestic-energy assets that will dramatically improve our economy and our environment."
Via his TomKat Trust named after him and his wife Kat Taylor, Steyer is also a major funder of the ClimateWorks Foundation.
ClimateWorks got off the ground in 2007 by authoring a key report titled, "Design to Win: Philanthropy's Role in the Fight Against Global Warming." Among other things, the report calls for converting coal-fired power plants to gas-fired power plants, a de facto endorsement of the then forthcoming U.S. fracking boom.
Will the Steyer, Bloomberg, Paulson and Rubin climate initiative promote fracking as a "bridge fuel"? Time will tell: October's just a few weeks away.

Here's To You, Mr. Robertson

Another key funder of the study is the Robertson Foundation, overseen and endowed by famous hedge fund manager and EDF Board of Trustees member Julian Robertson.
Formerly the manager of the hedge fund Tiger Management, Robertson now serves as a Senior Advisor for a hedge fund focusing on midstream energy asset investments: Tiger Infrastructure Partners.
Emil Henry serves as the Managing Director and Managing Partner of Tiger Infrastructure Partners. Henry was the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 2005-2007, reporting to Henry Paulson as his superior.
[Image: Emil-henry.jpg]
Emil Henry; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Launching in 2009, Tiger Infrastructure Partners signed a key partnership with Kiewit Corporation in June 2012 to develop midstream shale gas assets, mainly gathering systems, pipelines and processing plants.
Tiger - under the deal - is set to spend up to half a billion bucks in captial to develop Kiewit's assets, with seed money coming from Julian Robertson and the Ziff family fortune.
"[They] are counting on continued demand for new natural gas and gas liquids and ways to transport them as energy explorers develop new drilling areas," explained The Wall Street Journal. "The Tiger-Kiewit pact aims to build the pipelines and processing plants for explorers in those new drilling fields."
Kiewit has helped build numerous key midstream and downstream shale gas industry assets, including Maryland's recently-approved Dominion Cove Point LNG export terminal, Oregon's proposed Jordan Cove LNG export facility, the massive Bakken Shale-based Tioga Gas Plant, Central Gathering Plant-72 in Texas, Mewbourne Gas Plant in Colorado; and Wyoming's Lost Cabin Gas Plant, Opal Gas Plant and Riley Ridge Gas Processing Plant.
The Tiger-Kiewit partnership officially goes by the name TKT Midstream Partners.
Erik Ludtke - TKT Midstream's Senior Vice President of Corporate Development - formerly served in executive-level positions both at BG Group and Talisman, both of whom served as sponsors of the EDF study.
"Our focus is delivering producers' hydrocarbons to market," TKT bluntly explains in its mission statement.
"Our capabilities include gathering, processing, treating, and transporting hydrocarbons and handling and treating of flowback and produced water. Our unique ability to design, engineer, build, own, and operate midstream assets makes us a one-stop-shop for producers."

The Ziffs and Fracking

While Julian Robertson served as one key seed donor to TKT Midstream, so too did the Ziff family, most famous as owners of Ziff Davis Media.
The Ziffs provided seed funding for the goliath Och-Ziff Capital Management Group hedge fund overseen by Daniel Och and also own Ziff Brothers Investments and its subsidiaries.
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Daniel Och; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Och-Ziff teamed up with Schlumberger to lease the drilling rights to 85,800 acres in 2007 and 2008 on tribal land located in North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin, paying $14 million for the acreage.
"Less than two years later, the Och-Ziff group sold the rights for $949 million," reported The Wall Street Journal of the incredible return on the group's initial investment.

The "Frackademics"

The study didn't become "frackademia" simply because of heavy-handed investors: two of the study's co-authors also have career ties to Big Oil, with one of them still working as an industry consultant.
A. Daniel Hill
Enter: Texas A&M's A. Daniel Hill. A Noble Energy Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Hill spent five years as an Advanced Research Engineer with Marathon Oil Company before beginning his career in academia, according to his Texas A&M profile.
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Daniel Hill; Photo Credit: Texas A&M
Jennifer Miskimins
Colorado School of Mines professor Jennifer Miskimins also has a career steeped in "frackademia," beginning it as a Production Engineer, Production Supervisor, and Reservoir Engineer for Marathon Oil Company.
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Jennifer Miskimins; Photo Credit: Colorado School of Mines
On top of her gig at the School of Mines, Miskimins also works as a Senior Consulting Engineer for Barree & Associates, self-described as "a petroleum engineering firm based in Lakewood, Colorado...offer[ing] consulting services for companies worldwide, specializing in stimulation and well performance optimization."
Barree's website hosts three industry-written "Gasland" communiqués and another bashing the FRAC Act, which would mandate the gas industry disclose the chemicals it injects into the ground during the fracking process. Its clients include Anadarko, Chevron, Encana, Shell, Talisman (five of the nine sponsors of the EDF study), along with Marathon Oil, Noble Energy, EOG Resources, ConocoPhillips and BP.
Miskimins also serves as Director of Colorado School of Mines' Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation (FAST) Consortium and all 31 publications listed on FAST's website were co-written by Miskimins.
Describing its mission as "practical research in the area of oil and gas well stimulation" and providing an "opportunity for graduate students to work on industry-sponsored projects," FAST's member company sponsors include Anadarko, BG Group, Encana, and Shell (four of the nine industry sponsors of the EDF study), as well as Barre, BP, ConocoPhillips, Devon, EOG Resources, Marathon Oil, Schlumberger and Halliburton (which helped dream up the "Halliburton Loophole" trade secret exemptions for fracking chemical fluid disclosure in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the rationale behind the FRAC Act to begin with).
Maintaining a busy schedule, Miskimins also runs Colorado School of Mines' Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute.
"As a domestic energy source, natural gas is abundant but 'locked up' in these unconventional reservoirs that we're just now beginning to really understand," Miskimins told EnergyWire in 2009. "As a 'bridge' fuel to alternative energies down the road, we need to further our understanding of maximizing recovery from these types of reservoirs."
In March 2012, the Institute secured a $2 million grant - $1 million apiece - from ExxonMobil and General Electric, which it now shares with University of Texas-Austin and Pennsylvania State University, both of which had professors who co-authored the EDF study.
GE and ExxonMobil doled out the funding "to develop programs to provide regulators and policymakers access to the latest shale resource technology and best practices."
ExxonMobil - in turn - promoted the model bill for fracking chemical fluid disclosure arising from President Obama's industry-stacked U.S. Department of Energy Fracking Subcommittee. EDF had a representative on that Subcommittee: Executive Director Fred Krupp.
The model bill exists as a direct response to complaints by citizens about lack of industry fracking chemical fluid transparency due to the "Halliburton Loophole."
First passing in Texas in June 2011, it eventually became a Council of State Governments model bill and then an American Legislative Exchange Council model bill pushed by the company's lobbyists at each of the two groups' fall 2011 annual meetings.
Coming full circle then, Miskimins also formerly served on the Technical Advisory Board for Realm Energy International Corporation, purchased for $139 million by San Leon Energy in 2011.
"San Leon's Board of Directors said that it made the move in part to create a more focused shale acreage position in Poland's Baltic Basin," noted an August 2011 press release. "In addition, the board said that it might gain even more access to shale if Realm's applications for licenses in France and Spain are accepted."
In December 2009, Realm signed a partnering agreement with Halliburton to "continue the evaluation of high potential shale deposits throughout Europe and select emerging countries."
"Realm Energy is now moving into an operational phase with our European leasehold and will contract with Halliburton to leverage its extensive shale-development knowledge, gained from Halliburton's significant presence in the North American market," Realm Energy Chairman Craig Steinke said in a 2011 press release.
San Leon owns over 23 million acres of shale assets in Poland, Albania, Morocco, Spain, Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Germany combined. Its current focus centers around Poland, Albania, Ireland and Morocco and it describes itself as "Europe's leading shale gas company by acreage."
One of San Leon's Partners - Talisman - was also a sponsor of the EDF study. In July, San Leon purchased the totality of Talisman's Polish acreage.
Through San Leon bought out Realm, it still maintains a close relationship with Halliburton, signing a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2013 to "develop a strategic relationship to jointly explore and develop the...unconventional gas potential in San Leon's Wschowa, Gora, and Rawicz Concessions in Poland."

Greenpeace USA, Food & Water Watch React

EDF believes the research - whose methodology is listed in-full online - will speak for itself, justifying the full development of U.S. shale gas assets going forward.
"The scientific talent leading these studies, the partnership with industry and access to their facilities, and the diverse research methods used, gives us the confidence that when the project concludes in late 2014, we'll be able to greatly increase our understanding of the climate impacts of switching to natural gas from other fossil fuels, through this unprecedented collective research effort," EDF Chief Scientist Steve Hamburg said in a press statement.
EDF explicitly states the study's findings - despite key funders profiting directly from the shale gas boom - will inform policymakers' next steps on shale gas.
"The study's measurements will help inform policymakers, researchers and industry, providing information about some of the sources of methane emissions from the production of natural gas and better inform and advance national and international scientific and policy discussions with respect to natural gas development and use," EDF notes in their press release on the study's launch.
Greenpeace USA's Executive Director Philip Radford unpacked a worst-case scenario of how the report will be used by Big Oil in the coming days, weeks and months.
"At worst, it will be used as PR by the natural gas industry to promote their pollution," he wrote on The Huffington Post. "In fact, methane is 105 times more powerful than carbon pollution as a global warming pollutant, so figuring out its real climate impacts has very real consequences for us going forward."
Food and Water Watch was even more harsh in its assessment of the state of play.
"This industry-sponsored study' is more spin than science," Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch said in a press statement. "The Environmental Defense Fund is running interference for the industry, and the result will be more drilling and fracking around the world.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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